San Carlos residents say foundation’s new hospital will cause negative impacts
SAN CARLOS — Residents have launched a new group to make sure that the Palo Alto Medical Foundation will contribute funding toward roads and infrastructure if it builds a new hospital and medical center in town.
The group, called San Carlos Citizens for Responsible Planning, is chaired by 32-year resident Sol Kutner and includes a bevy of residents who live near the site of the proposed 110-bed hospital at Holly Street and Industrial Road. These residents have raised concerns over traffic and ambulance noise, according to Assistant City Manager Brian Moura, but their chief concern now is a financial one.
“As a nonprofit, PAMF doesn’t pay taxes, but being a nonprofit doesn’t mean they don’t make money,” Kutner said. “If they’re going to have a major impact on the community in terms of traffic, they have an obligation to pay their fair share. Otherwise, San Carlos residents will have to subsidize it.”
If a commercial firm moved onto the 18.1-acre site, city officials have estimated that San Carlos would net approximately $30,000 per year in property taxes.
PAMF is in talks with city officials to create a development agreement that would address a number of residents’ concerns, including the financial one raised by the Citizens for Responsible Planning, according to PAMF spokeswoman Jill Antonides.
“We’re not able to discuss the particulars, but we’re working to mitigate the economic issues,” Antonides said. “I think that is going to address his concerns.”
Kutner’s group is the latest in a string of citizen and union organizations that have emerged to oppose or support the project. The first was San Carlos Residents for a Healthy Open Debate, which circulated fliers in early 2005 decrying PAMF’s plan to build a hospital on a contaminated site. PAMF officials claim the group is associated with Service Employees International Union Local 250, whose employees work with Sutter Health, PAMF’s parent company.
Anonymous groups have circulated fliers warning of increased traffic and pollution, while another group, Working Together for a Healthy San Carlos, favors PAMF’s San Carlos proposal.
San Carlos planners are finalizing their environmental review of the PAMF project, which should be available within two months, according to Planning Director Liz Cullinan. The city will hold more hearings in 2007 to weigh the merits and environmental effects of the plan.